Delimitation: Redrawing the limits of political ambitions

Delimitation: Redrawing the limits of political ambitions

/ Guest Column / Wednesday, 03 June 2020 16:35

By - Janghaolun Haokip

As the news of Delimitation rings aloud like church bells on Sundays in a Christian neighbourhood, it has become the hot-topic in every tea-hotel around the state. There are the younger group of people who basically have heard the term for the very first time and are curious about the hype it creates, the older group of people who are ready to brace themselves, the intellectuals and academicians who sees an imminent threat to the already threatened peace and harmony of the state, and finally the politicians who sees but opportunities that will come along a great by hook and by crook fight ahead.
Delimitation, in its simplest terms, is the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province with a legislative body. It seeks to maintain equitable representation by checking overrepresentation and underrepresentation of people due to distortions in population size, and thereby ensures equal representation for the people. On the other hand, with the constitution of the Delimitation Commission under the Delimitation act of 2002, Manipur is likely to struggle through another wave of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic due to its socio-cultural and ethnic diversity. Manipur therefore needs to yet again brace itself and boldly face its challenges.
A critical question thus arises, what would this redrawing bring to our tiny beautiful land. Would it bring a war of dissent, a debate of destruction, or a consensus of disagreements? It is for everybody to answer these critical questions to save our tiny state from another possible wave of terror and unrest amidst the already deadly pandemic. It is more for the decision makers, people in positions and power to decide the fate of the state as it is preparing to go through a major change that will be in force for another 30 long years. Meanwhile, it is also to be carefully understood that the Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court and therefore unalterable once settled. It is therefore all the more important for the people and the leaders as well to rightly discern in the true spirit of democracy the future of our state.
At this critical juncture, therefore, the state has to carefully devise its plans in a big table, gathering as much information in forms of suggestions and advisory directions. It must clearly understand that it can, at no point, and in no condition, make the smallest mistake that would go against the will of the entire people of the state. The state has to make every minute observation, covering all aspects of socio-cultural and ethnic differences within the state, and give due credence to the various social groups existing within its walls. Further, the state also has to rightly discern communal concerns and make no favour of any major groups but with a neutral approach fondle the issues in its essence. Doing so alone, without the goal of narrow political gains must be the principle in which delimitation has to be carried out.
I would agree to a former minister and BJP leader Mr. N. Nimaichand Luwang who had told The Hindu that delimitation will be a political justice for thousands of voters, especially in segments of Thoubal and Jiribam districts, who had been voting for an Outer Manipur Parliamentary without having the right to contest elections because they are not tribals. On the contrary, I strongly feel that the word of Mr. O.Ibobi, the leader of the State Congress Party, that there will be inevitable fallout, is also notable in the light of the lawlessness and others forms of ferment that the state will witness. It is inductively, therefore, imperative to look at different dimensions of the prevailing situations or any that can possibly arise, otherwise which confusions will stem from our miscalculations and misinterpretations. On the other hand, the politicians also have to let go any scheme for selfish political gains, and neither social nor regional groups to assert programmes that could contravene with the others. These are important to counter as a failure will be a threat to peace and tranquillity of the state.
Important now, and more than the voices of our elected representatives is the voice of the people, us. What do we want? How do we want it? Why do we want? Would our wants be justifiable? Are they just and righteous? When our constituencies go through a redrawing, where would that lead us?  It is then very much necessary for us to raise the right voices amidst the challenges that surrounds, because, diversity, as we have, as beautiful as it can be, can also be as complex and as destructive. This diversity has to be explored and not exploited for the beauty to remain.
It is an earnest appeal therefore, to join hands, to raise our voices, to come together and be responsible, and to contribute, each what we can, for the good of our state. Because as Patrick Henry, an American attorney, planter, politician, and orator had stated, “United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs,” we ought to stand united for peace and prosperity for all, and for our beautiful state.

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